Is it worth paying extra for transit cover when shipping your parcel?
Transit cover is a thorny subject when posting parcels.
Let’s be honest, most couriers will do everything they can in the event of damage, to not accept liability through various guises.
First is they set time limits on making a claim. If your parcel arrives damaged contact us straight away.
Some actually set their time limit from the date of collection so if you are posting a parcel to Europe by road you can be right up against the time limit by the time is it delivered.
All you need is a delay in delivery because your receiver is out and by the time you receiver opens their parcel and then informs you the item is damaged we can be out of time.
If your receiver throws out the packaging or box this immediately voids your claim.
Others use the ’old chestnut’ the computer says no. Your claim is based on how many keywords are ticked on a damage inspection for the computer to agree to a claim. The biggest bone of contention we come across is when the courier company comes back and states the claim is not upheld due to insufficient packaging.
The criteria for a successful claim is that your item is firmly wrapped with at least 6cm of internal cushioning between the item and the external box and that the box must be a new double walled box suitable for the weight of the item. Whilst we are very keen on recycling here at Pharos, not with cardboard boxes. They lose their integrity once they have been used a couple of times.
When sending parcels if it’s a very valuable and fragile item, we always double box it and having packed it carefully in one box, then cushion the inner box into a larger one. I spent three hours recently packing an antique dinner service to go to Texas, because it was antique and china it was not suitable for transit cover. Not a single item arrived damaged, it all arrived in perfect condition.
The old adage that you should be able to drop it from waist height and it survive is a good one.
To be fair to the parcel delivery companies, we have seen some really crazy and irresponsible packing in our time.
Using a recycled crisp packet box designed to carry 1.5 Kg of crisps and loading it with 30 Kg of stuff just stuffed in any old way will not result in your parcel arriving in pristine condition.
A lot of people who have sold items online once they have sold them, don’t always necessarily take time and care to pack.
So many people think the manufacturer’s box is sufficient.
A manufacturer’s box is designed to enclose an item from factory to shop. They are tightly wrapped together on pallets or in steel containers to travel by air cargo or sea. They are delivered in bulk in containers or pallets to the retailers and the box is designed to look eye catching and be suitable for you to carry carefully out to your car.
It is not designed to go down chutes, conveyor belts at speed and have other heavy parcels loaded on top of it.
We have a lot of people who choose not to take out additional cover but then expect to be recompensed when things go wrong. There are a whole load of items that cannot be covered for transit cover for shipping. A full list is in our prohibited and restricted item list at the bottom of our home page.
It is worth checking this every so often as the carriers do tend to change it now and then.
It doesn’t matter if you have elected to take out and pay for additional cover, you will not be covered if your item is a TV, white goods, made of china, contains tickets, passports or anything on the prohibited or restricted items list.
Personal items (Anything you own over 6 months old) are also not covered for loss or damage.
Even on UK next day delivery, your parcel will be handled by at least seven people and travel down various conveyor belts at speed. A fragile sticker will not make any difference. Machines don't read them. It will be turned on its side and upside down. Long thin parcels such as fishing rods can get caught in machinery and unless packed really well, can get damaged. Parcels strapped together will inevitably become unattached in transit.
It is a false economy to save a few pounds if your parcel goes missing because you don’t want to pay for two parcels.
Our advice on sending any parcel is to take a couple of photos on your phone before sealing your box to show the extent of cushioning you have provided and the pristine state of the box before shipping.
It is amazing how many boxes that have been half way round the world and back and are still in excellent condition. The carriers do try to look after your parcels. Honest!
In the unlikely event of damage the first thing you need to do is make sure your receiver does not dispose of the box and packaging and then inform us immediately so we can raise a claim. We will also need photos, receipts of wholesale price or proof of value.
Most carriers will organise a damage inspection and then the fun starts! Nine times out of ten they will come back with the standard 'insufficient packaging' statement.
We don’t get offended anymore. We dispute their findings and send photos to show the damage incurred. Sometimes we are successful and sometimes not. We spend a lot of time on the phone to the claims department. They are not in a hurry to process your claim and we’re under no illusion they are paid not the write the cheque.
If they agree to process a claim we do need to have receipts showing the value of the item of evidence of value. You would not believe how many people on loss of a parcel will suddenly claim it contains a valuable laptop!
However it’s not all doom and gloom.
If your item is valuable it does make sense to pay at bit extra for transit cover, for peace of mind.
Some of our carriers offer transit cover such as UPS. The cost is 2% or £5 whichever is the greater.
DHL don't offer transit cover but to be fair in all the years we have used them, they have not lost or damaged a single parcel. Their standards are very high and a lot of our business customers have switched to using DHL.
When using Pharos Parcel you are using a family run company who will fight your corner for you, if we feel the carrier has not upheld their duty of care.
If you have packed your parcel carefully with enough cushioning. and a new strong box and insured it, in the rare event of a claim if you can provide us with photos to prove the before and after, we have a lot of success.
We are recommended in a lot of art, musical instruments and hi -fi forums because we also are very picky on our choice of carriers.
We don’t use couriers who are famous for chucking parcels over fences or on roofs.
Yes it does happen.
It can take months but we don’t give up! You are our customer and if we feel you have been treated unfairly by the carrier we will try and fight it out.
UPS brought in a new mandate a few years ago that if the receiver is not in when making delivery the driver may (at his discretion) leave the parcel in a ‘safe place’ or with a neighbour. How many people even know their neighbours, far less trust them, to accept a parcel on their behalf, especially living in a city or large town? We think it is a crazy idea and much prefer that they drop it into a local collection point.
When is a safe place not a safe place? Well we’ve had some real fun and games on that one. However when the customer had taken out additional transit cover, they have paid up.
With a lot of carriers such as DPD if you track your parcel you can go onto their app and leave them instructions for delivery to your safe place or ask them to drop it into a local collection point usually situated in local shops for you to collect at your leisure. This is proving very popular with our customers and results in less lost or damaged parcels.
My tailoring business sometimes has very tight schedules for sending clients outfits and this time the team at Pharos Parcel have excelled themselves. The precious outfit was given to Pharos on Friday 17th November at 1.55pm and it arrived at its destination in Hong Kong on Monday 20th November at...
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